I was given some lovely local quail eggs this week and wanted to do a recipe that was quick, different and easy. A take of an old classic gammon and eggs. I do like gammon and pineapple however the only place that grows pineapples in Cornwall is Heligan Gardens. Supposedly it cost them over a £1000 to grow a pineapple and then they are sent to the queen, hence they haven’t arrived as a staple supply at the Cornish Food Box yet! They did have some lovely rhubarb though which we know with a bit of honey can be both tart and sweet. A pervert accompaniment to cut through the meatiness and saltiness of the gammon.
Setting out on of this adventure of cooking using 100% local produce has really made me appreciate rhubarb as it can just about be grown all year round. It is plentiful and adds a good tartness to dishes that require a bit of acidity, in alot of cases it can be good replacement for lemon and lime if used right.
Rhubarb Dressed Gammon , Quail Egg and Cider Sauce
Heat Oil in a medium heated pan and quickly fry the gammon 3 minutes per side. You want it so that it is just under cooked as it will still be cooking once we place the rhubarb on top. Turn off the heat and leave the gammon in the pan.
Mandolin the rhubarb cross ways so that you are left with beautiful little slices.
Place the slices on the gammon like scales on a fish. Its best to keep it in the pan.
Turn the heat on to medium/ low and brush or drizzle the rhubarb with a bit of melted butter and honey. Put a lid on the pan and cook for about 4 Minutes, until the rhubarb is cooked.
Remove the Gammon and leave to rest. In the meantime fry some very thinly sliced onions with butter in the same pan until they go soft. this will help pick up the meaty flavours from the gammon. Once the onions are soft (5 mins) add Half a bottle of Cider to the pan and turn up the heat. Once it starts to bubble add a couple of knobs of butter until the sauce starts to thicken. Season with salt as required but not too much as the gammon will be salty.
In a separate pan gently fry the quail egg.
This dish looks unusual which is why I like it. You can dress it up to resemble a fish using the rhubarb as scales, you can go into as much detail as you wish. The flavour combinations are absolutely perfect. Gammon is a strong tasting bit of meat , so you need strong flavours to accompany it to help break it down . This dish has sweet from the honey in the rhubarb, and the cider. Salty from the gammon and sour from the rhubarb and the apples in the cider. The cider sauce works really well, apples and pork we know go really well so i'm not sure why it isn't used with gammon as much. Probably because apple isn't sour but in this recipe we have rhubarb for that. The quail egg finishes it off nicely as it just goes so well with pork and gammon. It also adds a nice visual element to the dish such as a representing a huge fish eye !
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